Oct 20, 2017

Saturn's rings might shower the planet with dust

Heavy molecuels are concentrated near Saturn's equator, which suggests they came from the planet's rings. Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

Mysterious particles in Saturn's atmosphere may have been shed by the gas planet's rings, according to data from the Cassini spacecraft and presented by researchers at a conference this week.

What they saw: Before Cassini (rest in peace) plummeted into Saturn last month, the spacecraft made several dives through the planet's outer atmosphere. A mass spectrometer on board detected large, complex molecules in the planet's atmosphere — including methane, carbon dioxide and more complex molecules, reports Alexandra Witze for Nature. The researchers believe the particles came from the rings because they were most common around the planet's equator and high altitudes.

Why it matters: The voyage allowed them to test long-standing hypotheses about the composition of Saturn's atmosphere. By studying planets in the outer solar system, we can learn more about how our corner of the cosmos formed.

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Special report: Health care workers vs. coronavirus

Photo Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos: Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images, Bruce Bennett/Getty Images, and Europa Press News/Europa Press via Getty Images

Health care workers are at an especially high risk of catching the coronavirus, because of their prolonged exposure to patients who have it. Making matters worse, the U.S. doesn't have enough of the protective equipment, like masks and gloves, that keeps them safe.

  • And yet these workers, with loved ones of their own, keep showing up at hospitals across the country, knowing that more Americans than they can possibly care for are depending on them.
Go deeperArrow17 mins ago - Health

Backed by the Fed, bond investors get bullish

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Fed's massive injections of liquidity have reopened much of the bond market, and after back-to-back weeks in which more than $100 billion flowed out of bond funds, investors have regained their bearings and now see opportunity.

What's happening: But after the hemorrhaging outflows relented last week, bulls may now be sticking their heads out a bit too far. Junk bond funds took in more than $7 billion for the week ended April 1, according to Refinitiv Lipper, setting a new weekly record.

What top CEOs fear telling America about the coronavirus shutdown

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Top CEOs, in private conversations and pleas to President Trump, are warning of economic catastrophe if America doesn't begin planning for a phased return to work as soon as May, corporate leaders tell Axios.

Why it matters: The CEOs say massive numbers of companies, big and small, could go under if business and government don't start urgent talks about ways groups of workers can return.